October 11, 2011
TB Cases Globally Decline For The First Time
The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday that the number of people getting sick with tuberculosis declined last year for the first time.
The United Nations health agency said 8.8 million people fell ill with TB in 2010, and 1.4 million died.
The WHO said that 1.8 million people in 2004 died from TB, and 9 million became sick from it in 2005.
"This is major progress. But it is no cause for complacency." U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement. "Too many millions still develop TB each year, and too many die. I urge serious and sustained support for TB prevention and care, especially for the world's poorest and most vulnerable people."
The disease infects a third of the world's population, but only a small proportion become sick as a result.
The WHO said China saw progress in battling TB, with about an 80 percent drop in the death rate from 1990 to 2010.
The TB death rate dropped 40 percent globally in 2010 compared to 1990, and all regions except Africa were on track to reach a 50 percent mortality decline by 2015.
The organization warned that money is the key to the current progress, and substantial challenges lie ahead due to a gap in funding of $1 billion for 2012.
TB can destroy a patients' lung tissue and cause them to cough up the bacteria, which then spreads through the air and can be inhaled by others.
The disease is common in Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and Russia.
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